Outrage over Nazi auction

A CANBERRA auction house that placed a selection of Nazi memorabilia under the hammer recently has been panned by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) and the Anti-Defamation Commission.

The auction, held on Sunday, March 29, was the third in a series held by auctioneer The Auction Barn in recent months offering trinkets including a knife and belt buckle from the Hitler Youth, as well as stamps featuring Adolf Hitler and Nazi armbands.

ECAJ executive director Peter Wertheim said the sale reflected poorly on those who took part.

“It is sad to see how some people are willing to profit from the collection or sale of Nazi and Holocaust memorabilia while remaining ignorant of, or indifferent to, the racism, bigotry, persecution and mass-murder with which these items are associated or worse, see these evils as part of the attraction.

“They are also desensitising others to the realities of Nazi brutality and the immense suffering it inflicted on millions of people.”

B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission chair Dr Dvir Abramovich said Auction Barn “has chosen profit over moral and corporate responsibility and does not care about the feelings of Holocaust survivors and their families”.

The auction caused concern among Canberra’s Jewish community, particularly Holocaust survivors, with a granddaughter of Auschwitz prisoners telling local media: “I think it’s offensive they’re profiting from that.”

The Auction Barn’s auction coordinator Stan Jordan defended the merchandise, saying he was unable to be selective about what was offered at the auctions on behalf of sellers.

Abramovich, however, said, “It is plainly revolting and deplorable that there are companies in Australia that are making money by offering items that represent humanity’s most horrific crime, and which glorify anti-Semitism, bigotry and prejudice.

“Once again we urge The Auction Barn and other Australian auction houses to reflect deeply about what is right and what is ethical and to exercise their ethical judgment by immediately stopping such sales.

“We also call on our state and federal politicians to denounce such inexcusable conduct.”


Some of the items auctioned in recent months by The Auction Barn.

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